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VA Service Connection Benefits and Alcohol Use
Brett Valette, Ph.D.
There are hundreds of reasons why Veterans drink alcohol.
Some drink alcohol with dinner.
Some drink alcohol to sleep.
Some drink alcohol watching “The Game”.
Some drink alcohol to relieve pain.
Some sip alcohol from a martini glass.
Some gulp alcohol from a plastic cup.
Some drink a glass of Cabernet after work.
Some drink a bottle of Vodka to forget.
Many veterans may have a service connected condition: An injury, chronic pain,
PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and drink alcohol to deal with it -- then the
alcohol problem may be service connected and rated.
This enables veterans to get treatment and benefits.
The reason many doctors do not service connect alcohol abuse is because
many still believe that alcohol abuse, or use, is voluntary - a choice.
These docs may be missing the real reason. And the VA has guidelines about this.
The VA makes it very clear that a non-service connected condition
(alcohol abuse) can be service connected if the condition is
made worse by a service connected condition (pain, PTSD, etc).
Aggravation of a Nonservice-Connected Disability (Allen)
Allen refers to a court case heard in the United States Court of Veterans Appeals in
1995. In this case, which spanned close to 30 years and several decisions, the
Court determined that service connection may be granted not only for
disabilities caused by a service-connected disability, but also for conditions
that merely had been aggravated by a service-connected disability. In other
words, there need not be a direct causal relationship between the service-connected
disability and the other condition. It is only necessary to identify that the claimed
condition was permanently worsened or “aggravated beyond natural
progression” by the service connected condition.
The view of alcohol abuse has come a long way. It used to be viewed as a
moral issue. Then it moved into the disease category. Some people see it as
simply bad behavior. Some see it as a genetic predisposition, or even a
biological sensitivity to the alcohol. For this article and for the VA rating,
it is seen as a coping mechanism, a secondary condition, that is
harmful to you. Long term alcohol abuse can lead to cognitive and
memory impairments, increased depression, liver disease,
diabetes complications, and yes, these conditions would then be service connected.
In short it looks like this:
Service connected back injury = alcohol use to deal with the pain = liver disease.
The alcohol abuse and liver disease become service
connected and become part of your combined rating.
Service connected PTSD = insomnia = alcohol abuse to sleep = mild memory problems.
It all becomes service connected and can be rated.
Veterans should not be embarrassed or feel guilty about alcohol abuse.
It is important to get treatment. And it is important to be honest and get
the VA to recognize how a service connected condition is effecting their lives.
If a veteran has a service connected disability and uses alcohol to deal with it,
then they can help themselves and their families.
I help veterans get the benefits they deserve
and that enables them to get the treatment they need.
Brett Valette, Ph.D.
Were you improperly denied
entitlement to reimbursement of
medical expenses incurred for emergency medical services?
You need to speak with a
veterans law attorney today!
From: Murphy, Thomas, VBAVACO
Sent: Friday, July 22, 2016 12:18 PM
Subject: Follow Up on Senior Leadership Changes
I want to update you on the personnel changes in our senior leadership ranks. As I previously mentioned, each assignment was considered thoughtfully and with the goal to further enhance benefits delivery to better support the Department’s MyVA goals.
Jamie Manker now serves as the Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary, second in command at VBA. Prior to this position, he served as Chief Financial Officer where he led financial management professionals in maximizing VBA’s $3.1 billion budget and distributed $96 billion in direct benefits in FY15. While Jamie is an Air Force Veteran, VBA represents his life’s work…and he will invest his utmost in leading our 20,000 employees in delivering benefits and services to our Veterans and their families.
Mike Frueh now serves as VBA Chief of Staff. Prior to his appointment, Mike was Director of Loan Guaranty Service and was responsible for managing the nationwide $500 billion Veteran home loan program. Mike has 25 years of experience in planning, organizational management and leadership, not to mention he’s extremely personable – all skills I believe necessary to manage a large staff.
Rob Reynolds now serves as Deputy Under Secretary for Disability Assistance (20P). Rob was previously Director of Benefits Assistance Service and managed VBA’s Direct Services and Client Outreach. Prior to that, he served as the Executive Management Officer for 20P. Rob first joined VA in the Loan Guaranty Program after employment with the Department of Defense where he was the Congressional Liaison for Headquarters Marine Corps after serving in the US Army. His experience providing oversight of policy, planning and implementation make him a natural fit for this post.
Beth Murphy now serves as the VBA Director of Compensation Service. Beth is responsible for developing rulemaking and policy requirements, procedures, and training for administration of VBA’s compensation benefit programs. She is also responsible for assessing accuracy and providing oversight of administration of those programs. She joined VBA 22 years ago as a Rating Specialist and has held a variety of positions in the field and at headquarters. Beth previously served as VBA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Field Operations, and her breadth of knowledge of VBA operations will be an asset to Compensation Service in achieving mission requirements. Willie Clark will serve as Acting Deputy Under Secretary in OFO.
Cheryl Rawls now serves as Director of Pension and Fiduciary Service and will oversee policy, training and implementation of related programs. Cheryl most recently served as Director of the Winston-Salem Regional Office, but she began her VA career over 20 years ago as a work-study employee. Cheryl’s willingness to serve wherever needed is indicative of her commitment to VA’s Core Values and I am glad to have to have her back working in her hometown of Washington, DC.
Dave McLenachen is now Director of the Appeals Management Center (AMC) where he is responsible for the processing of appeals remanded to VBA by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Prior to his appointment, Dave was Deputy Under Secretary for Disability Assistance and had oversight of VBA’s Compensation, Pension and Fiduciary, Insurance, and Benefits Assistance business lines, and led the appeals modernization effort for VBA. As AMC Director, he will continue to support the Secretary’s MyVA Appeals Breakthrough Initiative and focus on VBA appeals policy and operations, with the goal of providing Veterans a modern appeal process.
Mark Bilosz now serves in the role of Director of the Winston-Salem Regional Office. Mark oversees the administration of benefits to Veterans and their families living in North Carolina. Mark previously served as Deputy Director of Operations for Compensation Service and began his VA career nearly 30 years ago as a file clerk at the Newington VAMC. Since he has risen through the ranks, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge, I am confident he will continue to serve North Carolina Veterans and their families with excellence.
Danny Devine is now Compensation Service’s Deputy Director of Policy & Procedures. Danny will oversee the development and implementation of policies, procedures, training and quality related to disability and death compensation programs. Danny previously served as Director in VHA’s Office of Disability and Medical Assessment where he managed C&P and disability programs, working closely with VBA. Danny joined VA in 2002 as Special Assistant in Congressional Affairs, and has had leadership roles in OCLA, Office of Public Affairs, as well as the offices of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, and I am glad to have him here in VBA.
I look forward to working with each of these leaders to cement VA as the excellent, Veteran-centered organization our Veterans and their families deserve.
Thomas J. Murphy
Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits
Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Benefits
Health care operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs still show "profound
deficiencies" and "require urgent reform," according to a report to be released
Wednesday by a congressional commission charged with fixing the troubled agency.
Commission says Veterans Health Administration has 'profound deficiencies'
that require urgent reform; proposes a 'bold transformation.'
Former veterans group president gets probation for theft
Freedom Foundation leader pleaded guilty to stealing gift cards
A postal carrier in Mishawaka was arrested after allegedly stealing
packages containing medications set to VA patients,
according to the probable cause affidavit.
The Department of Veterans Affairs bought more than $11 million worth of
weapons, ammo and other security equipment between 2005 and
2014, according to a report released last month by a non-profit
organization that tracks spending across the federal government.
In Washington, the most common “solution” to a problem is to throw more
money at it, and that has been the case with the ongoing VA scandal.
Unfortunately, as a recent report from the Phoenix VA proves, this
strategy is bound to fail every time, because it does not
address the root causes of systemic problems.
In an exam room at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care Systems
hospital in late May, Willie McCall, a decorated Army
veteran who served in the Korean War, was dying.
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Case Evaluations Are
Brett Valette, PhD
eterans Affairs officials aren't saying how 24,000 veterans were diagnosed with
traumatic brain injury by VA physicians considered unqualified to make
such a determination, but on Wednesday, told Congress the
department is working to resolve related disability claims problems.
Some veterans diagnosed with TBI from 2007 to 2015 were denied
disability benefits because they were examined by a VA
health provider considered to be unqualified under VA policy.
After a seven-year delay, a Minnesota veteran is finally getting
traumatic brain injury treatment and benefits from the Department
of Veterans Affairs. Former Army Staff Sergeant and Green Beret
Nate Anderson is one of the nearly 25,000 veterans nationwide
whose original traumatic injury exams were not done
by specialists, as required by VA policy.
I disagree with pretty much everything Donald Trump has ever said. But in
calling for veterans to have more options on their doctors and hospitals, he’s
got a point. Imagine, for example, the outrage if military veterans
were able to receive subsidized health care at the clinic or hospital of
their choosing, but were then forced into a separate system of run-down,
inconveniently located facilities. If the next administration rejects
proposals to reform the Veterans Health Administration and
instead perpetuates the current system, the effect will be the same.
Disability Service Connection
Secondary Service Connection-Increased
Total Disability Rating -
Individual Unemployability -
Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151 -
Special Monthly Compensation -
Specially Adapted Housing/Special
Home Adaptation Automobile
Allowance/Adaptive Equipment -
Benefits Based on a Veteran's
Seriously Disabled Child
Notice of Disagreement
The first step to appeal
Application for DIC, Death Pension
Custom carvings by a veteran.
I do military themes, sports logos,
business logos, Bible boxes,
occasional canes and much more.
These make great gifts!
(I ordered the Big Red One you see above
as a gift. First class work and service!)
/s/ Jim Strickland
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If you haven't figured it out by now,
it's time to realize you're involved in a giant paper shuffle
and this IS NOT a spectator sport.
Put down your gun
and pick up your keyboard.
The battlefield has changed.
The Data Dump
Vital Links to
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A Comprehensive Collection
of Materials Relating to the
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serves healthcare professionals
working in the Department
of Veterans Affairs, Department of
Defense and U.S.
Answer questions to find out which
benefits you may be able to receive
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CFR › Title 38 › Chapter I ›
Part 4 › Subpart A › Section 4.26
M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii,
Chapter 2, Section F -
Compensation Based on
Individual Unemployability (IU)
M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii,
Chapter 2, Section H -
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv,
Chapter 8, Section D -
Reductions in Awards
M21-1, Part I, Chapter 5,
Section B - Notice of
LouisianaVoice has obtained documents which reveal that a doctor at the Veterans
Administration Medical Center in Alexandria, LA. was denied a license in Florida
because she had previously falsified medical records while employed at a
hospital in Maryland.The records from Maryland were provided subsequent to
our story on Wednesday that examined numerous complaints about
Dr. Shivani Negi over her confrontations with
hospital staff members and families of patients.
Among other things, the facility’s acting chief of staff was prescribing controlled
substances without the appropriate license to her boss’ wife. She did this
while being paid for both her position as an administrator, as well as a
cardiothoracic surgeon, despite whistleblower complaints that she rarely,
if ever, performed in her role as a physician. There were reports of contaminated
surgical equipment, but new documents and testimony
show that the problems were worse than anyone knew.
The lead dust was found in area where veterans’ files are stored.
Part of a statement from GSA reads: “Earlier this week, GSA learned through an
independent OSHA evaluation that elevated concentrations of lead dust exists on
top of file storage units and other horizontal surfaces within record storage
areas of the VA’s Record Management Center (Building 104). Existence of this
lead dust poses health concerns if the dust is disturbed. 29 employees
were sent home Wednesday. They have since been
reassigned to other work, according to the GSA."
The VA Records Management Center (RMC) is a Veterans Benefits
Administration (VBA) facility located in St. Louis, MO.
At GloverLuck, helping veterans is our only business. We are veterans law, at your service.
Federal Tort Claims
Title 38 U.S.C. 1151
Above are the executives who control the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, your VA benefits and your health care.
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Six days before the window closes for public comments, a Veterans Affairs
proposal to expand nurses’ authority to treat veterans without a
doctor’s supervision has drawn 71,520 comments online.
Many doctors argue that the change is unwarranted and
potentially dangerous to veterans.
A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday sought to revive a proposal to make
it easier for veterans to upgrade "bad paper" discharges wrongly handed
down for behavior resulting from PTSD or sexual trauma.
It is a great American tradition, especially during presidential campaigns, for
political candidates to deploy military veterans and active service members as
evidence of both their robust patriotism and their qualifications to be
commander-in-chief. Donald Trump, of course, is neither a patriot nor
qualified to be commander-in-chief, and on Tuesday morning a group
of veterans gathered in the public square here to make that very point.
Both shooters in the recent police killings in Baton Rouge and Dallas —
Micah Xavier Johnson and Gavin Long — spent time in the
military, and potentially suffered from mental health issues.
A Stafford Springs man is accused of promising to help more than a dozen
veterans, then scamming them out of half a million dollars, according to state police.